Fortunately, once you've purchased the hardware for your network, there's nothing else to buy; Windows 2000 Professional contains all the software you need to get your computers communicating.
GEM IN THE ROUGH : Two-Computer Ethernet—and Direct Connections
If you want to network only two computers, you can do so without having to buy and set up a hub.
All you need is a special cable called a crossover cable, which can connect two computers directly. It costs about $10 at your local computer store or online shop; just run the cable directly from one networking card to the other. Everything else in this chapter works exactly as though you had purchased a hub and were using a "real" Ethernet network.
There's another way to connect two machines, too—one that doesn't even require Ethernet cards: direct connections. You can create this kind of miniature homemade network only if (a) the computers are close to each other, and (b) they both have parallel ports, serial (COM) ports, or infrared ports.
If both machines have parallel ports, you need a Basic or Fast parallel cable from Parallel Technology (http://www.lpt.com); if both have serial ports, you need a null modem cable (and lower expectations; serial connections aren't as fast as parallel for this purpose).
To begin, log onto the first PC with an account that has administrative privileges, as described in Section 17.3. Now run the Network Connection Wizard (choose Start→Settings→Network and Dial-Up Connections, ...
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